Studies in the Novel is currently seeking submissions for a special issue on “Gender and the Cultural Preoccupations of the American West,” guest edited by Sigrid Anderson Cordell (University of Michigan) and Carrie Johnston (Bucknell University), which will be published in fall 2017. The submission deadline has been extended to October 1, 2016.

This special issue examines the novel as a tool of political engagement through which women writers have challenged prevalent notions of the American West as masculine, antimodern, and untouched. Even thirty years after Annette Kolodny’s foundational study The Land Before Her, recent work by Nina Baym and Krista Comer has shown there is considerable work to be done to account for women writers’ engagement with the West as an imaginative and political space. Likewise, new directions in gender studies, border theory, settler colonialism, and critical regionalism have made new conversations about the Western as a literary genre increasingly urgent.

We invite contributions that examine the ways that women novelists have located themselves in the West—both imaginatively and geographically—asking how these narratives have engaged cultural “preoccupations” with the West as an extension of the predominantly white, masculine public sphere. Examining these narratives, contributors will also evaluate gendered representations of the longstanding contested nature of the “occupation” of western territories and, more recently, US borders.

Possible topics include:

Women’s writing and borderlands
Gender and settler colonialism
Intersections of post-feminism, the post-western, and the post-racial
Novels about the West as spaces for debate
New readings of canonical western women writers like Willa Cather and Mary Austin
Ways that the critical landscape shifts by paying attention to neglected texts
New readings of under-read women writers
Women writers and the post-West or post-regionalism
Globalization and the novel
Visualities in women’s novels about the West
The Western novel as a gendered genre
The gendering of anthropology in narratives about the West
Submissions should be sent in MS Word, devoid of personal identifying information. Manuscripts should be 8,000-10,000 words in length, inclusive of endnotes and Works Cited, and follow MLA style.

Deadline for submissions: October 1, 2016

Full name / name of organisation: Studies in the Novel
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